Pilatus PC-24 earns scrutiny from Embraer

Washington DC
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Embraer is closely scrutinising a new competitive threat to the Phenom business jets from Swiss aircraft maker Pilatus.

"Any aircraft that wants to enter into this market we at Embraer want to take seriously," says Ernest Edwards, executive vice-president of the Embraer Executive Jets division.

Pilatus recently announced that it will reveal the PC-24 twinjet at the EBACE business aviation convention in Geneva, Switzerland, next month. Little is known about the project, but a released silhouette of the aircraft's profile indicates it is aimed at the class of light jets occupied by the Phenom 100 and 300 aircraft.

The twinjet marks a strategic leap from Pilatus's background as a turboprop aircraft manufacturer, but Edwards cites Embraer's relatively recent entry into the business jet market with an all-new airframe as evidence that it can be successful.

"We're not quite sure how seriously our competitors took Embraer back in 2005 when we announced [the Phenom], but we don't intend to make that mistake," he says.

Until now, the Phenom has battled primarily with Cessna and Beechcraft in a light jet sector left depressed by the 2008 global financial crisis. But a new entrant is expected to enter the market later this year - the HondaJet - and now the PC-24 could follow shortly thereafter.

"It's still left to be seen how successful the HondaJet will be, [and] what the PC-24 is, but we must take everybody seriously," Edwards says.